Outokumpu Oyj is the European market leader in sustainable stainless steel and the second largest producer in the Americas. Headquartered in Finland, Outokumpu has 8,500 employees operating in almost 30 countries and is 15.5% owned by the Government of Finland.
“It’s likely that the car you drive, the renewable energy platform that powers your home, or even the pans you cook with use Outokumpu steel,” says Risto Mikola, Vice President, Head of IT Platforms at Outokumpu. “With more than 2 million tonnes of stainless steel produced every year, this is metal manufacturing on a massive scale. We consume up to 4% of all Finnish energy, and one production site measures almost 10 kilometres in length.”
Outokumpu has embarked on a digital transformation programme to modernise its plant floor and create secure, connected factories in more than 20 locations worldwide. One of the obstacles to this bold, imaginative strategy was a reliance on multiple fragmented and outmoded network security technologies in different locations.
This siloed security increased the risks from cyberattacks and advanced persistent threats. It also consumed considerable time and resources. Risto explains, “You can’t stop and start stainless steel production; every one of our manufacturing sites operates around the clock. We needed one complete network security platform to efficiently protect every Outokumpu location – from the largest production site to the smallest branch office. Zero Trust security is our goal.”
The dramatic increase in internet-connected devices and people accessing them created similar challenges. “The push to optimise steel manufacturing increases the risk of a cyberattack on vulnerable access points that must be protected – especially OT and IoT devices,” Risto says.
Outokumpu also wanted to reimagine the way people connect with the company. “We had overlapping physical VPN boxes – and rogue VPNs popped up frequently,” Risto continues. “As part of our cloud-first strategy, we wanted direct-to-app connectivity, reducing the attack surface without impacting performance or the user experience.”
Outokumpu’s vision was to deploy a unified, best-in-class portfolio of security technologies from one trusted vendor. To achieve this, they required a portfolio that would:
Outokumpu has deployed the connected Palo Alto Networks portfolio to underpin secure digital transformation across its global operations. Machine learning (ML)-Powered Physical Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs), VMSeries Virtual NGFWs – via the Software NGFW Credits – a connected suite of Cloud-Delivered Security Services (CDSS), Panorama, and Prisma Access reduce the risk of downtime, accelerate the return on manufacturing investments and enhance the user experience.
This innovative implementation includes:
The Physical and VM-Series virtual firewalls are ML-Powered NGFWs; deployed in Outokumpu’s manufacturing plants and across their global network of regional offices, they enable the company to stay ahead of complex threats. Risto’s team has instant, complete visibility into threats, deep learning analyses data, and zero-delay signatures which provide updates in seconds.
Panorama network security management helps Risto and his team save time and reduce complexity with centrally managed device lifecycle, network security configuration, and network traffic examination in one unified UI.
A connected suite of natively integrated CDSS complements the firewalls. “Cloud-Delivered Security Services as integral security in the Palo Alto Networks NGFW platform make perfect sense. Instead of using point solutions from different vendors, we benefit from one consolidated platform to secure our network traffic. WildFire, for example, gives us cloud-based malware visibility and prevention without having to add another device,” explains Risto.
The CDSS services used by Outokumpu include:
Prisma Access replaces the physical VPN devices, protecting more than 3,000 hybrid employees and reducing the attack surface. “Prisma Access is light years ahead of the old VPN devices – and less expensive too,” explains Risto. “It ensures all traffic is secure and there’s no impact on performance or the user experience. What’s more, it provides consistent visibility into how people access data and the data itself.”
This modern cybersecurity strategy is helping Outokumpu to accelerate digital transformation, reduce risk, and drive manufacturing efficiency. The benefits include:
With geopolitical turmoil and change taking place on Outokumpu’s Finnish doorstep, Palo Alto Networks also ensures the manufacturer is protected against every type of known and unknown threat. Mikola explains, “We are always conscious of the evolving threats facing Finland and the wider world. With Palo Alto Networks, we can conquer every security challenge.”